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Estonia GEH SMR


GE Hitachi Nuclear Energy (GEH) and Estonia’s Fermi Energia last week signed a Memorandum of Understanding to collaborate on potential deployment applications for GEH’s BWRX-300 small modular reactor in Estonia. The companies agreed to examine the economic feasibility of constructing a in Estonia, to review siting requirements and to assess nuclear regulatory requirements, GEH said.
The BWRX-300, a 300MWe water-cooled, natural circulation SMR with passive safety systems, is based on the Economic Simplified Boiling Water Reactor (ESBWR) which has been certified by the US Nuclear Regulatory Authority. GEH said that, through dramatic design simplification, the BWRX-300 is expected to require up to 60% less capital cost per MWe compared with other water-cooled SMRs or large nuclear reactor designs. “By leveraging the ESBWR design certification, utilising licensed and proven fuel, incorporating proven components and supply chains and implementing simplification innovations, GEH believes that the BWRX-300 can become cost-competitive with power generation from combined cycle gas and renewables.”
In May, GE Hitachi announced the BWRX-300 was undergoing vendor design review with the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission. The US Department of Energy in July 2018 announced it was providing $1.9 million in federal funds toward a GE Hitachi-led project to bring together a team to examine ways to simplify the reactor design, reduce  construction costs and lower operations and maintenance costs for the BWRX-300.

In July, after a financing round from investers and shareholders, Fermi Energia began a feasibility study on the suitability of small modular reactors for Estonia’s electricity supply and climate goals beyond 2030. It has chosen four SMR designs to be included in the feasibility study: Moltex Energy SSR-W300, Terrestrial Energy IMSR-400, GE Hitachi BWRX-300 and NuScale SMR. Fermi Energia plans to publish the feasibility study  in January 2020. “We anticipate the study will reinforce that this technology is an ideal solution for Estonia’s energy needs,” Allen said.

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